Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Jesus Meets the IRS

The family of worshippers at West Adrian Community Church are going to be looking closely at people who have begun, A Holy Pursuit. Our worship time is going to be concentrated on people in the Bible who pursued and engaged Jesus Christ.  Our desire is to be  people who will be pursuing Christ in the everyday of life. There is no better way than to examine some of the people in the gospels who really put out the effort to engage Jesus Christ.

The first example could be looked at as rather simplistic, Sunday School simple. The local IRS agent in Jericho, a very unpopular fellow by the name of Zacchaeus.  The crowd was following Jesus and the IRS man being a rather short fellow, couldn't get a good view of the renowned teacher, healer and prophet. Being a man who was fast on his feet, he ran ahead of the crowd and climbed up into a tree.

Jesus recognized the notorious fellow and told him to come down from the tree because he was going to spend the day with him. Well, you can just imagine how the crowd took the announcement. Jesus spending the day with the tax man, what kind of man would associate with a tax collector?

Some points for us to consider, yes, rather simple as well. Zacchaeus didn't depend on the voices from the crowd to tell him about Jesus. He didn't ask the crowd a single question about Jesus. He was not going to depend on word of mouth for his information. Neither should we. The truth of Christ must be sought out on the individual basis. I must desire to know him, to understand him, to love him. His words must be spoken to my heart, his death must become my death as his resurrection must become mine as well.

Zacchaeus got ahead of the crowd and gained a vantage point in the tree. He put himself into the position to see Jesus for himself. He understood his limitations, his height, and climbed the tree. Just as the tax man, we must put ourselves into the position to see and encounter Jesus. I don't think any of us will be climbing a tree to encounter Jesus but, we should find a place that is conducive to meeting him. That might be a quiet place in your house, in the outdoors, anywhere that allows our mind and heart to be receptive.

Jesus recognized Zacchaeus by name. I wonder if it came as surprise to the tax man. Jesus recognized that Zacchaeus had put himself into the position to see him pass by. Jesus will never ignore our efforts to encounter him. He loves it when people desire to meet and listen to him. Jesus then announced, loud enough for the crowd to hear, that he was going to spend some quality time with him.

The IRS agent was forever changed by his encounter with Jesus on the road. He pledged to make things right with every person he gouged for more money. Jesus gave evidence and voice to the change in Zacchaeus by telling us that salvation had come to his house.

Tedd Galloway is a former missionary and is currently the pastor at West Adrian Community Church. His book, A Mother's Heart Moved the Hand of God, is soon to be released through, Morgan James Publishing. You can follow Tedd on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. His website is, www.teddgalloway.com

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